There is no denying America's love for the automobile. Since they first graced our roads, we have had a love affair with cars. But with the continual progress of the auto industry, new models are constantly being introduced. The rule in manufacturing is survival of the fittest. And only the vehicles that have a good sales record will stand the test of time. In the blur of incoming models, we often forget the cars that came before them — often paving the way for their new technology. Not everything that we forget is worthless, just like not all forgotten cars were lemons. Some of them just never got a foothold in the market because their price was too high, or the competition was so heavy they got lost in the crowd. Ford is known for creating a line of quality cars and trucks that stand the test of time, but even they have produced a stream of very forgettable models. These are Fords no one remembers.
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This odd-looking two-seater was first introduced in 1982 and was basically a front-wheel-drive Escort with a facelift. Its sportier appearance did not match its limited power, and consumers soon figured this out. When rivals like the Pontiac Fiero and Toyota MR2 hit the market, consumers left the EXP in the dust. By the time Ford discontinued the EXP, it had sold just over 200,000 in six model years.
In 1972, Ford introduced the Courier to compete in the rising compact truck market. While largely forgotten, it was actually a tough little truck, with a 1,400-pound hauling capacity. Affordable and stylish, it quickly became very popular. However, when it underwent modification changes in 1976, the price rose too much for the Courier to keep its original audience. In 1983 the iconic Ford Ranger replaced it.
This was the beginning of the Tremor trim. This sporty truck was a Ranger SuperCab with an upgrade, featuring alloy wheels, 5-speed automatic transmission, Vulcan V6 engine, and 485-watt stereo. It was available in three colors, Chrome Yellow, black, and Sonic Blue. It was no performance vehicle, however, and did not make a great work truck. Ford made 6,000 Ranger Tremors in 2002.
Okay, so the Ford Falcon hasn't been completely forgotten. It does have a fan base, but most people don't realize what an impressive model it was. From 1960 to 1970, the six-passenger Falcon ruled the road. Its sleek design was hard to ignore, and it was available in a wide assortment of styles, including two-door and four-door sedans, two-door hardtop, convertible, and two- and four-door station wagons. At first, the Falcon was a big seller for Ford, and it would see three generations in its lifetime. Soon, though, the competition from GM and Chrysler proved to be too much.
Even with an impressive twenty-year market run, the Ford Ranchero has faded completely from America's memory. With a smaller truck design, the Ranchero looked great but failed to perform to the public's expectations of a Ford truck. Now gone for over forty years, it's as if the Ranchero never existed.
In an attempt to create a "world car," Ford developed the Contour, also known as the Mondeo. Unfortunately, it was too small and too expensive for most people, and because of poor sales, Ford stopped production in 2000. However, this little gem was granted new life when, in 2013, Ford brought it back as the popular second-generation Fusion.
Ever seen a 4-door Bronco? Well, that was the forgotten Centurion Classic. A third party was commissioned by Ford to work on the design, and from 1993 to 1996, the Centurion C150 Classic and the Centurion C350 Classic were offered. With the rise of the popular Expedition, however, this Ford became a relic of the past.
For five model years, the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe led the way in performance, a segment where most 1980s cars failed miserably. This luxury two-door coupe packed a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that started out at 145-horsepower, then rose to 155-horsepower in 1985, when a manual 5-speed transmission was included. They were followed by the even more powerful Thunderbird Super Coupes. The tenth generation reached the performance peak for this model, producing 230-horsepower in 1996. Despite its obvious perks, the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe was discontinued by Ford.
In a world where bigger is better, the Ford Sunliner is best. The widest Ford ever made, this behemoth was probably the widest of all the automobile brands. While it sports an iconic appearance to us now, it had a very modern, unconventional look when it was released. The perfect land-yacht for tooling around with the top down, the Sunliner was produced by Ford from 1952 to 1964.
The Fiesta arrived from Europe in 1978 as a fresh, new "world car," and continues to be successful there. Pitted against competitors like the Volkswagen Rabbit and the Honda Civic, the Fiesta was a fun little car with an in-line four under the hood. Inexpensive and easy to control, it became quite popular as a second car or commuter vehicle. While it still has a devoted fan club, the American Fiesta left the country in 1982.
While you may not recognize it by this name, this full-size luxury sedan of the 1960s and 1970s would later become the LTD Crown Victoria. When Ford made this change in 1983, the shift left the LTD to fill the mid-size car category. Its sales started off strong, but when competitors introduced performance upgrades in the mid-1980s, the LTD was left far behind. In 1986, it was replaced by the Taurus, which set the standard for mid-size cars for over a decade.
Based on the Mazda MX-6, this sport coupe was a solid little car. The problem with the Probe, other than the name, is that it was pitted against an icon. The design for what would become the Probe started put as a replacement for the popular Mustang, with updated front-wheel. When the public found out what Ford was planning, Mustang fans bombarded the company with calls and letters. They saved their beloved auto, leaving the new model to be released as the Probe in 1989. Even a facelift in 1993 couldn't save this forgotten auto, and it was discontinued in 1997.
The Fairmont was simply one model in a sea of the company's production when it was introduced. With a Fox body and compact style often identified with the Mustang, Ford offered the Fairmont in a sedan, station wagon, and two styles of coupes. This boxy behemoth debuted in 1978 but had disappeared by 1983.
The Bronco II was one of Ford's early compact SUVs. An immensely popular category for modern car buyers, the size of the Bronco II was a whole new concept. This SUV contained plenty of room for passengers and cargo, while its practicality trumped that of full-size SUVs. The Bronco II also had a decent towing capacity for its size, making it a great option for a work vehicle. Add to that its off-road capability, and it's hard to understand why we never knew this beauty existed.
This poor model was simply born at the wrong time. In the 1960s and 1970s, big luxury cars were all the rage. In 1977, the LTD II was introduced as the biggest mid-size car on the market. Unfortunately, the automobile industry was about to encounter a massive change. The country was entrenched in an oil crisis, and people were looking for smaller, more fuel-efficient models. The LTD never stood a chance and was dropped after 1979.